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Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part II of III): Introducing the Walk Pirouette

Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part II of III): Introducing the Walk Pirouette

(© Manolo Mendez and Caroline Larrouilh. First published Baroque Horse Magazine, July 31, 2013. Image Courtesy Manolo Mendez Dressage.)

How I Introduce the Walk Pirouette

To introduce the walk pirouette, several methods can be used.

Turn on the haunches: Some riders ask for a turn on the haunches and then make the turn smaller and smaller. Sometimes the term turn on the haunches is used to describe a pirouette. This is not quite correct. A turn on the haunches is different from a pirouette in two ways; it is asked for in a slowed medium walk instead of a collected walk, and the hind legs travel on a wider circle then what is required in a pirouette which requires the inside hind leg lifts and drops in the same footprint.

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The Adventures of Amerigo: Flying White Horse of Sinterklaas

The Adventures of Amerigo: Flying White Horse of Sinterklaas

(© 2017 Kip Mistral.)

Strictly speaking, this post about the flying white horse Amerigo, who makes the overnight gift deliveries of the Dutch and Belgian holiday character “Sinterklaas” possible, is belated as Amerigo does his thing on December 5th. But having just found out about him, I wanted to share a little bit of the story since after a lifetime of being used to nine reindeer pulling Santa Claus’ sleigh, seeing the image of a horse standing on a roof gable was utterly charming.

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Conversations with Eventer Kim Walnes: On Love, Trust and Soaring

Conversations with Eventer Kim Walnes: On Love, Trust and Soaring

(© by Kim Walnes 2017. Photograph by Elizabeth Preznikoff.)

I have always loved this photo. It speaks to something in the heart…that dream all us horse girls have had of the winged white horse who comes to us, invites us to mount, and carries us off through the air to the fulfillment of all our wishes.

The Gray Goose might as well have had wings…I’ve never sat on such immense yet smooth power. His long back made the ride comfortable, and he didn’t have any trouble jumping over pretty much anything that came in his path. When he left out strides, which we both loved to do, it truly was like flying.

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Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part I of III): Principles of Training the Walk Pirouette

Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part I of III): Principles of Training the Walk Pirouette

(© Manolo Mendez and Caroline Larrouilh. First published Baroque Horse Magazine, July 31, 2013. Image Courtesy Manolo Mendez Dressage.)

A correctly executed pirouette is a thing of beauty, a perfect storm of collection, impulsion, suppleness, strength and balance. At canter, it is one of the most physically demanding movements we can ask of our horse. It is a test of a trainer’s ability to develop self-carriage and a horse that is completely attentive and responsive to the aids…a horse filled with power and expression, yet focused and tension-free.

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Sir Alfred James Munnings: Genius of British Romantic Equestrian Art

Sir Alfred James Munnings: Genius of British Romantic Equestrian Art

2017 Kip Mistral. Featured image, The Clark Sisters, by Alfred Munnings. All images copyright estate of Sir Alfred Munnings, All rights reserved, DACS.)

Having recently discovered the prolific British Romantic art of Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959) which ironically focuses on the kind of sunlit and backlit Edwardian idyllic pastoral countryside equestrian activities that I wish I could enjoy myself, out of curiosity I began to look into his long and interesting life. As a young man Munnings roamed his native countryside painting gypsies, horse fairs and races and hunt scenes with riders and packs of hounds. He later served Britain as a WWI war artist and thereafter roved the world documenting the mostly equestrian lifestyles of aristocratic and wealthy patrons. Munnings was lionized on both sides of the Atlantic as the finest equestrian artist, his friends including Sir Winston Churchill and any number of the highest-ranking persons in society and industry of the time. Today his paintings sell in the $7-8M range. But this is a man who made his way to a knighthood by his passion for horses and the outdoors, and a whole lot of hard work.

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